Now, they plan to take part in a clean-up effort to improve their surroundings.
Wayne Brasher, 61, of Twin Street said he had spent most of his life in the Mill Village. He said he has seen the neighborhood surrounding his home decline for more than a decade, and especially in the last year.
“It’s gotten to where half of (Village residents) don’t even own a garbage can,” Brasher said. “They burn their rubbish, or do whatever they want to do with it.”
Brasher said he felt the neighborhood had been left behind to fend for itself. He cited the overgrown grass and weeds in the entire area, including the median on Twin Street as an example.
Brasher added that he cut the grass along the stretch of median in front of his house at his own expense.
Multiple homes in the neighborhood had trash piled alongside them in the back and front yards Friday. Some lots featured houses burned to the ground, with the charred remains left sitting there.
Large items such as appliances, car parts and abandoned automobiles were also commonplace. One yard on Twin Street was littered with multiple cars and parts to the point the ground was not visible.
Down Cherokee Street, a pick-up truck bed with no wheels overflowing with garbage sat on the street in front of home.
Mill Village residents also said they were concerned about illegal drugs and violence in the area. One spoke about fires that were caused by crystal meth labs, another spoke about a residence he referred to as simply “a crack house.”
The Village was originally built around the now-closed Avondale Mills to house employees of the plant. The area was once a thriving community for working families, according to longtime local residents.
“Avondale had their own workers that cut the field, cut the grass and kept everything maintained,” Brasher said.
Linda Williams of Alpine said her parents live on Spring Valley Road, and she travels through the Village regularly. She went before the Talladega County Commission June 28 to make them aware of the matter and ask for assistance.
“It’s an eyesore,” Williams said. “I went before the county commission last month to see what could be done. They have agreed on placing dumpsters for a short period and maybe trimming the ditch that has grown up so badly. I have to get the house numbers of the ones that are so deplorable or burned down and they are going to try and locate the landlords.”
Williams and others began passing out flyers for the first “Mill Village Clean-Up” day, scheduled for Aug. 7. The event, sponsored by the county commission, will have two dumpsters on the Twin Street median to dump residential garbage.
The group also planned another cleaning effort on Aug. 14.
Michael Wright of Spring Valley Road said he believed many neighborhood residents, mostly renters, had no pride in their home or their surroundings. He said he hoped the clean-up would “re-instill that pride” in the people in the Mill Village.
“Anything you can imagine, just garbage everywhere on both sides of Twin Street,” Wright said. “And you have the burned up houses and the abandoned houses that have been abandoned for years.”
Contact Matt Quillen at firstname.lastname@example.org